After many years of planning and seeking funds, a new Lutheran church at Imanpa was opened on October 22.
Leading the church service on this day was Pastor Rob Borgas, while Rover Pumpjack cut the ribbon to officially open the new building.
Rover’s father Tjuki was an evangelist at Imanpa for many years and a plaque to remember his work (Hebrews 13:7) was unveiled by his two granddaughters, Kathleen and Cynthia. His great-grandchildren then carried the processional cross into the new church.
After a community lunch, seven people were also baptised in a second service held later that day.
Imanpa Working Group member Tanya Luckey said the people at Imanpa had been waiting for a place to hear the word of God.
“Old people have been asking for a church building for many years now, because they knew that it would help strengthen and unite the community,” she said.
Imanpa received support from congregations in South Australia, with a number of churches donating items.
St John’s Lutheran Church in Naracoorte donated sacred furniture, including an altar, pulpit, baptismal font and number board, which was delivered to Central Australia by Keith and Kay Braendler. These items came from the closed church at Padthaway.
St John’s Lutheran Church, Woodside, also donated $1000 for new Pitjantjatjara hymnbooks, Bibles, children’s Bibles and other literacy materials, to help those at Imanpa lead worship in their own language.
“We will use the new church at Imanpa to help us teach our kids Christian stories in our own language,” said Imanpa’s Maria Coulthard.
Finally, past members from the closed Lutheran congregation at Kimba donated four church pews, as well as additional sacred items, which will be used by some of the other 25 Lutheran churches in the Finke River Mission area.
The Imanpa congregation would like to thank all the LCA congregations who have supported them in this project.
Imanpa is located about 200km east of Uluru and is a small community of about 200 Western Desert speaking people. The community was established in 1978, after an excision of land was made from the Mount Ebenezer cattle station to make a home for the station’s stockmen and their families.
Regular church services began in the 1970s and were held outside by various Indigenous pastors, evangelists and also Finke River Mission support workers. More recently, church services had been held in the local women’s centre.